Staples makes moves to buy Essendant

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Staples, which was taken private last year by Sycamore Partners for $6.9 billion, yesterday disclosed a 9.9% stake in workplace supplies wholesaler Esesendant and offered to buy the rest for $11.50 per share in cash ($940m enterprise value, including debt).

Why it's a big deal: Because it's highly unusual for private equity sponsors to use their portfolio companies to put equity hooks into listed acquisition targets. Sycamore, however, has been known to use this strategy on its own.